Belen Mozo is the latest talented Spanish player to join the paid ranks and is playing in her second event as a professional this week at the AIB Ladies Irish Open. The event is being held at Killeen Castle in Dunsany, County Meath, Ireland, site of the 2011 Solheim Cup.
Mozo turned professional just prior to the US Women’s Open in early July, where she made her professional debut.
The 21-year-old from Cadiz has spent recent years based in Los Angeles, California, as she was an All-American at USC.
This week, playing on the Ladies European Tour, she will join fellow Spaniards and friends Azahara Munoz and Maria Hernandez, who are both rookies who have already won professional events. Munoz won on her professional debut at the 2009 Madrid Ladies Masters and Hernandez won the 2010 Allianz Ladies Slovak Open.
Mozo said that she intends to follow in their footsteps when we caught up with her at Killeen Castle to hear what she had to say.
Q: So how do we pronounce your name?
A: Belen; with an accent in the last ‘e’, and then Mozo; like ‘th’ instead of ‘z’
Q: This is your second event as a pro after the US Women’s Open. How did find your first event as a pro?
A: I wasn’t a hundred percent ready; I mean I was ready for it; but I wasn’t a hundred percent devoted to it because I was still in school, so I played good golf, but not good enough to make the cut; the course was very hard and I was not used to that type of course, not back initially when my practices were not even close to that; and I couldn’t go there early enough because of school to practise; I had less practice rounds, but it was a great experience; it was a very good experience and I learned a lot from it.
Q: Why did you decide to turn pro at that point?
A: I guess I wanted t turn pro early on, but because of my shoulder surgery last year I couldn’t do it; so I guess I had that little swine on me; like I really wanted to turn pro, and because something out of my control; that I couldn’t control happened; I kinda went bunk for a year; I couldn’t play for the entire year for USC; I could only play barely a few tournaments; and it was just, I saw my game back; and I said why not, you know like, I had a lot of passion to play in the world and for Spain; but because I had to stay in summer school at USC so I can finish my degree in the centre because after the surgery I had a really difficult year and I had to go on with the schools and stuff, with my classes, so I couldn’t really compete back in Spain, so my points weren’t good enough for the world am, so I was not sure I was going to play either, you know I wanted to give also the other Spanish girls the gratuity that were competing, so I decided I made the qualifiers for the US Open and I said you know what, I think I’m ready for it, I really wanted to do it; and it’s not going to make a difference if I do it now or at the end of the year; so I said you might as well take the chance right now.
Q: What are your hopes for this tournament, the AIB Ladies Irish Open?
A: Well, I’m very, very; extremely excited because of the area, like I love this place, like I don’t know, it reminds of my European, my amateur times, before going to college, we’d always come to the GB & I, to play British tournaments, so I’m just very excited, I’m just going to fight out there; get the best out of it.
Q: Have you been to Ireland before?
A: Yes, but Northern Ireland, most of the times. The two British that I won were in Northern Ireland, like in 2006, 2007? I don’t remember.
Q: There are some excellent young Spanish golfers here such as Azahara Munoz and Maria Hernandez. Does that inspire you, because they’ve both won on Tour?
A: I was talking with Aza; Aza is my best friend, so I was talking to her yesterday, and I was saying how great it is to see her back, because we’ve always been super close to each other, and then she turned pro and I stayed in school, but then I see her back in tournaments, and I was saying I’m really hoping I can get on the tour really fast, then I could play with her, and go to tournaments together as we used to do before; and I told her it was an inspiration for me, all she did during the entire year; so, absolutely.
Q: At the end of the year, if you don’t win a tournament before then; do you think you might go to Q school?
A: Absolutely, yeah my plan is to play both the LPGA and the European Q School.
Q: Do you live in LA, or do you live in Spain now?
A: Oh, I live in LA because of school, I still have school until December, so I will be living in LA until December, and it depends if I get the LPGA or the European tour, like the card, so I will live either in America or live in Spain, so I don’t know, it’s something that I have to think about; I just don’t want to think about it right now.
Q: Is there anything we might not know about you, or people might not know about you that would be interesting to know?
A: I’m a pretty funny girl; I think people will know that already, I don’t know I’m pretty laid back, I’ll take things in a good way.
Q: And are you into anything other than golf?
A: I love tennis and the beach.